Two establishment parties look set to dominate parliament, but it remains unclear if they can form a grand coalition after a series of internal rifts plagued the previous ruling alliance.

Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov wearing a face mask casts his ballot at a polling station during parliamentary election in Bishkek on October 4, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekov wearing a face mask casts his ballot at a polling station during parliamentary election in Bishkek on October 4, 2020, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (AFP)

Parties close to Kyrgyzstan's pro-Russia President Sooronbai Jeenbekov have appeared set to form a government following parliamentary elections that have been overshadowed by vote-buying accusations and possible political unrest.  

However, it remained unclear if they could form a grand coalition after a series of internal rifts plagued the previous ruling alliance.

The Birimdik (Unity) party of President Sooronbai Jeenbekov's closest supporters led the count with 24.45 percent of the vote, according to preliminary data published by the Central Asian country's election authority.

Just behind it with 23.95 percent was Mekenim Kyrgyzstan (My Motherland Kyrgyzstan), whose ticket includes former coalition members and ex-opposition MPs, and which has avoided positioning itself as either allied with or opposed to the president.

Just four parties out of 16 contesting 120 seats in the single-chamber parliament appeared to have crossed the seven percent barrier for election, the two others being Kyrgyzstan and Butun Kyrgyzstan.

While Birimdik's ticket includes Jeenbekov's brother Asylbek, Mekenim Kyrgyzstan has drawn attention by including on its list Iskender Matraimov, who, according to observers, represents another powerful local clan.

Risk of greater tension

"The main conflict in this election is that between the Jeenbekov and Matraimov clans, which is played out through the competition of the parties they are backing," said Central Asia-focused analyst Alexander Knyazev.

While the clans have avoided public confrontation, there was a risk of greater tension if Mekenim Kyrgyzstan supporters viewed the vote results as too skewed in favour of the president's allies, he said.

Videos purporting to show vote-buying schemes favouring the two victorious parties abounded on social media on Sunday, but there was no immediate sign that either would be punished.  

History of political turmoil

Surrounded by authoritarian states with rubber-stamp legislatures, elections in mountainous Kyrgyzstan offer a colourful and sometimes unpredictable contrast.

Yet with the coronavirus pandemic battering paltry incomes, many warned that the stage was set for massive ballot fraud by well-resourced parties.

The country of 6.5 million people has a history of political turmoil: in the past 15 years, two presidents have been toppled by revolts and a third is in prison after falling out with his successor.

Further instability would be a concern to Russia. 

Moscow operates a military airbase in the former Soviet republic and is already dealing with major crises involving its allies Belarus and Armenia.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies